sealPurdue News

April 11, 2002

National study lauds Purdue for economic development initiatives

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Citing Purdue University as "a model for its peers," a study released today (Thursday, 4/11) finds Purdue's efforts to spur economic development among the best in the nation.

The study results are the end product of a two-year research project by the Southern Growth Policies Board's Southern Technology Council (STC). The findings, profiled in the book "Innovation U.: New University Roles in a Knowledge Economy," detail the best practices and cultures of a dozen major research universities that are leading the way in promoting technology-oriented economic development in their states and communities.

The book praises Purdue for its recent history of "organizational rethinking," which includes an increased emphasis within the past few years on coordination within an institutionwide mission, vision and structure.

"Purdue is making significant progress as we endeavor to be an even greater economic development asset to Indiana and to the larger global community," said Purdue President Martin C. Jischke. "To be recognized as a research institution at the forefront of these initiatives is truly in keeping with our mission of discovery, learning and engagement."

The study polled 40 practitioners, researchers and experts on economic development and university-industry technology transfer to identify which schools were seen as maintaining exemplary programs. This group was given a list of 164 research universities (based on research and development expenditures) and asked to nominate the outstanding examples.

The survey results identified 12 universities that the polled group considered the best in the nation in contributing to state and local economic development, with Georgia Tech topping the list by a comfortable margin. Purdue is listed among the 11 other top institutions, which include Carnegie-Mellon University, N.C. State University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Stanford University, Texas A&M University, University of California-San Diego, University of Utah, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Virginia Tech.

Case studies for each of the leading institutions can be found online. Each case study includes details about the universities' external partnerships, including industry research partnerships; technology transfer; industrial extension and technical assistance; entrepreneurial development; industry education/training partnerships; and career services and placement. These profiles also look at each institution's enablers, particularly the university's culture and rewards, and examine each school's formal partnerships with economic development organizations and any university/industry advisory boards and councils.

In Purdue's case study the researchers conclude, "Obviously Purdue is committed to building a new kind of land-grant institution to serve its state and region through technology-based economic development, partnerships and engagement," and the study's authors remark that Purdue is "… an example of an internally coordinated, carefully managed approach to this challenge."

Don K. Gentry, Purdue's vice provost for engagement, said Purdue is taking a variety of approaches to impact the local area and state's economic situation, including offering funds to give a monetary boost to new faculty-entrepreneurs, constructing the largest university-affiliated business incubator complex in the country (Purdue Research Park), and providing the "Connect Indiana" Web portal to Purdue business assistance.

"As we engage our industry and government partners in various economic development initiatives, all our efforts are fostered by an institutionwide culture that encourages a coordinated approach to providing solutions," Gentry said.

The Southern Growth Policies Board is a center for new ideas and practices in policy designed to encourage the South's economic development and strengthen its quality of life. Governed by a board that includes the governors of 13 states and Puerto Rico, plus legislative and citizen appointees, Southern Growth's work focuses on four main areas: technology and innovation, globalization, communities, and work force.

The STC is Southern Growth's technology-policy division. Its membership includes two representatives from each of Southern Growth's member states, as well as dues-paying members from the private and nonprofit sectors. The study was conducted by STC senior fellows Louis Tornatzky and Paul Waugaman, and North Carolina State University Professor Denis Gray, and was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Writer: Jeanine Phipps, (765) 496-3133;

Sources: Martin C. Jischke, (765) 494-9708

Don K. Gentry, (765) 494-9095,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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